Paintings by Salvadoran-born artist Elmi L. Ventura Mata will be exhibited at the University of Findlay’s Dudley and Mary Marks Lea Gallery in the Virginia B. Gardner Fine Arts Pavilion from Sept. 25 through Oct. 27.
An immigrant to the U.S. who grew up in Elizabeth, New Jersey, Mata initially saw art as a means of escaping life in the inner city. His works portray his experiences through form and color.
“Since arriving in the United States, I have felt as if I had been thrown into a meat grinder,” Mata explains. “During this puzzling journey, in pursuit of the ‘American Dream,’ one either prevails as a new person or becomes hamburger meat. Resiliency is necessary for survival and when participating in the grand tradition of painting.”
“My paintings are viscerally engaged with the nuanced representation of Latin American people in and outside my adopted country,” Mata continues. “Figurative painting allows me to weave narratives that spell out the concerns and ideas of my brown brothers and sisters. A limited palette ensures that viewers reconfigure their disposition to really meet the people on the canvas.”
Mata was a participant in the inaugural Emerging Artist Creativity Hub group at the College of New Jersey. He graduated form high school in 2012 with a NJ Governor’s Award in Multidisciplinary Art. In 2016 he earned a bachelor’s degree in painting and drawing from the Cleveland Institute of Art, and was the winner of the Association of Independent Colleges and University’s Grand Award of Excellence in Visual Arts.
Mata currently lives and works in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he is a Master of Fine Arts fellow at Temple University’s Tyler School of Art.
The University’s Lea Gallery is open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. All exhibitions are free and open to the public.